Dont despair Bucs fans, as Jon Gruden once said after a disappointing loss in 2006 “Futures so bright, you gotta wear shades”! Well Dirk Koetter should say the same thing, IF he’s allowed to hang around until then that is.
For starters, and for a future article, the 2011 CBA was a disaster for football. It was great for the players who no longer have to deal with 2 a day practices in pads. In fact, the CBA has practically made padded practices disappear; and I fear thats why you see so many injuries. NFL players need that contact during practice to stay in game shape all year. But thats not the reason the Bucs offense hasn’t been able to get going on offense.
We’ve spent so many draft picks acquiring talent on offense, when the defense is where the Bucs need to go with badly. You’ve heard of complimentary football, where the Defense helps the Offense score, and the offense helps the defense by keeping the ball and letting the D rest, and special teams helps both out by giving Offense the Ball in short field (from good returns), or taking the other team out of scoring range (with good punts). But the offense needs to sue the defense in 2017 for non support, and here is why; The Bucs have too many weapons now on offense for the limited amount of snaps the team has with the ball.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017 have one of the worst 3rd down defense in the NFL. Opponents convert more 3rd down opportunities, keeping the ball longer, PREVENTING the BUCS offense from doing the same.
Last night vs the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football, TE OJ Howard and WR DeSean Jackson went down and out with injuries, leaving the offense to its 2016 form more or less: Winston, an RB (Peyton Barber instead of Doug Martin) , Mike Evans and Cameron Brate.
The offense looked like last year again, Jameis Winston to Mike Evans. Winston to Brate; and it was clicking again because these three players got into a groove. But the Bucs added another WR and TE to improve but they dont have anywhere NEAR enough snaps to develop any kind of groove with these extra weapons.
Last year, the Bucs were 94/214 or 44% on 3rd down conversions by the offense. This year? Not so hot people.. 66/167 or 39.5% a far cry from last year. Thats when the Bucs DO have the ball, when they dont have the ball the defense cant get it back for them, so they dont get the reps needed with more stars on the field.
This year opponents are 94/191 or just under 50%. Last year? 67 out of 195; 34.3%, which explains why the Bucs offense was so good last year compared to this year; they simply have less plays in a game than they did a year ago.
With less plays in the game, and the Bucs not keeping the ball when they DO get it back, but instead punt it right back to the other team, they are in essence playing complimentary football….for the OTHER TEAM.
Next year, the Bucs front office MUST put defensive talent on the field; specifically defensive line talent.
In 1979 A coach took over the San Francisco 49ers and improved their offense immensely, but they had the worst secondary in football. They were bringing players in off the street in 1980 to try to improve the secondary. The answer was obvious, the 49ers drafted 4 DBs in the 1981 draft;
- 1st Round Ronnie Lott DB USC
- 2nd Round Eric Wright DB Missori
- 3rd Round Carlton Williamson DV Pitt
- 5th Round Lynn Thomas DB Pitt
When the 1981 49ers came out of the Tunnel in the Pontiac, MI Silverdome for week 1 meeting with the Detroit Lions, they started 3 rookies in the secondary, and 3rd year Free Safety Dwight Hicks.
There was trial, there was error, but at the end of the year, the same 49ers came out of the Pontiac Silverdome tunnel one more time that year. The Super Bowl was played in the Silverdome in 1981, and the 15-3 49ers beat the bengals.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers should trade, maneuver any way possible to get pressure on QBs next year, to get other team off the field on 3rd downs (like they did in the last minute last night), to give Jameis Winston and the Bucs offensive weapons more reps to get into some kind of rythym so OJ Howard and DeSean Jackson AND Brate and Mike Evans can get some more balls thrown their way, and work off the rust!